Tin Tins

Tin Tins

Tin Tins was an all night dance club formerly located opposite Birmingham New Street Station at 308 Smallbrook Queensway in Birmingham, roughly on the site where the Debenhams store now stands as part of the new Bullring Shopping Centre. Its importance in the history of the Birmingham clubbing scene should not be underestimated. It was a ground breaking, pioneering and influential club in the Birmingham dance scene and was the predecessor of, and influence for, many now well established clubs.

Culture

Tin Tins opened its doors as a gay club in the Spring of 1990, the brainchild of Brian Wigley and Martin Healey the owners of the very popular drag cabaret bar Partners (now Glamorous) and was successful in the early years as a gay club particularly with a younger clientele (the only other gay club in the city at the time was 'The Nightingale' more popular with an older predominantly male customer base) Under the management of Stan Cherrington and Richard O'Donnell.

During its formative years, the venue staged p.a.'s from some of the most popular music acts of the time including Lonnie Gordon, Hazel Dean, Sharon Redd, the pre-famous pop group Take That and a number of high profile celebrity personalities including "The Freak" from Prisoner Cell Block H and Lily Savage. Even during these early years of the clubs life it was groundbreaking, employing the DJ talents of the Legendary "Funky Dunc", one of the biggest names of the HI - NRG scene popular at the time.

The early management departed to open M&M's, a nearby gay bar and the Tin Tin's club then went on to further establish itself under its new team of Richard O'Donnell, David Nash (Lotty) and Phil Oldershaw who some years later went on to enjoy similar success with the "new" Nightingale Club.

The owners of the club then sold up to O'Donnell who made the commercial decision to capitalise on the club having one of the only all night licenses in the city and launched an after hours club night called 'Hype'. This saw Tin Tins very slowly move away from its prominence as a 100% gay club and allowed 'straight' clubbers entrance provided they were attitude free. This approach meant that the majority of the gay crowd stayed on and this added to the uniqueness of the atmosphere in Tin Tins as mixed gay/straight clubs were not commonplace in the early nineties.

Music

Uplifting house music was played upstairs and harder house in the new Hi-NRG style in the downstairs room where the famous and sadly missed DJ Tony De Vit played in the early days before moving on to his residency at Trade nightclub at Turnmills in London. Long term Resident DJ Paul Andrews & DJ's such as Simon Baker and Dave Simmons helped to shape the music policy of the club and in turn had an impact on the scene as a whole. Originally, the Tin Tins club would close at 2am to then re-open as Hype from 2am to 6am or sometimes 8am. After a short time, the club simply remained open right through from 10pm to ultimately 9am with no break. The night and the club had a unique feel and was a ground breaker in terms of the complete lack of prejudice it had. Black, white, gay or straight - all that mattered in Tin Tins was the music and the Tin Tins 'family' would dance all night to tunes that where being played in very few other clubs in the country at that time.

Controversy

Its legendary status in Birmingham clubland folklore was guaranteed when it was abruptly shut down following a Police raid in January 1997. Sadly a clubber had died outside the club the previous weekend and this gave the Police good cause to conduct a full scale raid of the premises. It was reported that a significant quantity of Ecstasy was found in the clubs safe. There was no coming back for a club that helped change the face of clubbing in Birmingham.

References

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